Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tutorial: 7 patch quilt

Okay, so I'm not the type to start cutting and sewing without having any directions to follow (which is why I love tutorials), but I'm trying to branch out. I bought the fabric for this quilt with a pattern in mind and then changed my mind about it and just started doing my own thing... I was going to just do a bunch of 9 patch blocks and sew it all together, but I had one fabric that I really wanted to showcase and little 4" squares just don't do it, so I made a 7 patch. The end result was pretty fun because it is such a versatile quilt block, there are so many variations you could use.

Here's how you do it:

You can start with pieces of fabric that are any size you want or scraps from your stash. I got fat quarters. Then you pair up the fabrics that you think look good next to each other and iron them together, right sides facing with starch so they stick together a little bit. Then cut each pair of fabrics into 4"x4" squares. Move them carefully into a stack so they don't separate. They're completely ready to sew at this point. Cut all your fabrics this way and lay them out next to your sewing machine so you can sew all of them at once. Stitch one edge of each of the squares together with a 1/4" seam allowance. All seams in this project are 1/4". After you sew the first piece, don't cut the thread, just feed the next piece in and keep going until you've finished all of your squares. This method is called chain piecing. It saves time and thread. I separated the pieces a little more than usual so you could see what was going on.Now you have your twosies. Cut the threads between each one and press all seams toward the darker fabric so that it doesn't show as much once you're done. Do that to all the pieces and then lay them out again by your machine so you can see what you've got.Then take two of your twosies and sew them together to make a 4 patch. The only pinning I did was to just pin the two pieces of fabric together where the seams meet to make sure they line up. It's best if each block is different so you get the random look when you're done. Press seams.Then take your 4 patch blocks and sew another twosie on top of it to make a 6 patch. Press seams.Then take the fabric that you really want to show off (in this case a yellow and blue toile), and cut it in strips of 4"x11". This will make up the third column. Sew it onto either side of the block, on the side that has 3 squares. The finished block looks like this:You may have to do a little bit of trimming to even up some of the sides. Then lay the blocks out on your design table (I like to say that because it makes me feel like Fons & Porter, but really I just lay it on my living room floor) and move them around until you are happy with how it looks. As I said before, there are a lot of variations in how you can put them together. You can do something more random:

Or something more organized:Once you decide on a layout, sew the blocks in one row together and press seams and do the same for the rest of the rows. Make sure you're lining up each seam.Then sew the rows together, and press the seams. Again, make sure you line up the seams. If you don't want a border, then you're done! Quilt or tie and bind as you like. If you do want a border then you're almost there! You can put as many borders on in whatever thickness you like. I did my inner border 3" wide and my outer border 6" wide. Cut your fabrics into 3" strips and sew as many strips as you need to cover all 4 sides. Repeat for the outer border. And...Voila!! You are finished. Quilt or tie and bind as you like. I'll post a finished product picture once mine gets back from the quilter.


Tyson and Chelsea said...

Oh Dear, so many things to try, so little time.

Jamie said...

That quilt is so cute - I love the colors!